Azerbaijan’s military march on Nagorno-Karabakh begins

Baku (Caasimada Online) – Amidst mounting tensions over the Armenian-controlled Nagorno-Karabakh region in the South Caucasus, Azerbaijan ignited further strife by dispatching troops backed by artillery into the area.

Their aim? To reclaim the breakaway region, internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory, albeit partially governed by Armenian separatists claiming it as their ancestral grounds.

Both global powers, the United States and Russia, immediately took action, urging the warring parties to cease hostilities.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, after conversations with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, fervently appealed for de-escalation.

Expressing his concerns on social media, Blinken mentioned, “I spoke to Azerbaijani President Aliyev today and urged him to cease military actions in Nagorno-Karabakh immediately.”

Subsequently, the U.S. Department of State’s readout revealed Aliyev’s willingness to halt hostilities and engage in dialogues with Nagorno-Karabakh representatives.

On the other hand, Armenia received Washington’s full backing, as disclosed by Blinken.

Contemporary struggles

The region’s complex history traces back to the disintegration of the Soviet Union when Armenia secured vast territories. However, in 2020, Azerbaijan reclaimed most of these regions after a six-week conflict culminated in a Russian-facilitated truce.

While the recent actions by Azerbaijan raise uncertainties about sparking a comprehensive conflict involving Armenia, the upheaval in Karabakh is potentially shifting the geopolitical equilibrium in the South Caucasus.

Azerbaijan articulated its motives, stating its objective was to “disarm and secure the withdrawal of formations of Armenia’s armed forces from our territories, (and) neutralize their military infrastructure.”

Armenia, which had previously been involved in intermittent peace dialogues with Azerbaijan about the future of Karabakh, denounced Azerbaijan’s “full-scale aggression” against Karabakh’s populace and accused them of bombarding settlements.

Russia’s role and stance

Though entangled in its Ukrainian war, Russia remains intent on maintaining its regional influence, especially in an area rife with essential oil and gas conduits, while counteracting Turkey’s increased involvement in supporting Azerbaijan.

In the wake of the intensifying situation, Moscow promptly pleaded with the conflicting parties to embrace the 2020 ceasefire agreement’s terms.

“We urge the conflicting parties to immediately stop the bloodshed, stop hostilities, and eliminate civilian casualties,” articulated Russia’s foreign ministry, sharing their standpoint via their Telegram messaging platform.

However, historically allies, the camaraderie between Russia and Armenia has witnessed significant strain. This rupture stems from Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine and compounded disagreements over Moscow’s alleged non-compliance with the 2020 ceasefire pact.